Sunday, September 13, 2009

Michelle's Excellent Alaskan Vacation Day 8

August 4, 2009
Glacier Bay National Park was impressive. Probably the benefit of a smaller ship like the Veendam is its ability to get “up close and personal” in small passages like those of Glacier Bay.
A ranger from Glacier Bay NP gave a presentation in the showroom, which highlighted the park’s wildlife & ecosystem.
The ranger’s presentation was followed by a presentation from a woman identified only as “Alice.” As she spoke, it became apparent that she is native Tlinglit. She taught us how to say “hello’ in native tongue, which is something like:
“Wasa I ya té”
She referred to the people as “Hunnah” which reminded me of the Hawaiian “Huna” culture. I remembered a conversation with a man from Fairbanks in which he said that Hawaii is the vacation destination of choice for many Alaskans, as it is only about 600 miles away. Perhaps Hawaiians and Alaskans are descendants of Mü [Lemuria] – the Pacific Ocean’s lost continent.

Alice explained that water is the way of life for these people, that there are two houses: Eagle or Raven. The two intermarry (Eagles marry Ravens, Ravens marry Eagles), that the people follow their mother’s heritage. Totem poles serve to identify the people and to function as a sort of history book. The harbor seal is their main staple – making full use of all the parts – the pelts, intestines and sinew. They respect the need to preserve the natural resources, and gave the example: If there are 3 bird eggs, take 2 and leave 1; If there are 2, take only 1. Alice ended her talk by singing a song her mother taught her – it was beautifully delivered in a tone that resembled what I have understood to be native American – Alaskan, Hawaiian.

The ship stalled some time in front of Marjorie Glacier. Photo ops abounded. We witnessed the glacier calving – the initial ‘crack’ sounding like a shotgun firing.
As we turned around and headed back out of the channel/ canal, I made my way down to Explorations Café. I decided to set up a ship account and pay the 75ȼ per minute for internet. I didn’t intent any extensive searching, only check my AOL mail. As it turned out, connections were painfully slow and I was probably online close to an hour, I did manage to jot a quick e-mail to family and to the blog.
At one point I noticed the time on the computer tool-bar said 11:165 am. My plan was to have lunch in the Rotterdam dining room, and lunch was served only 12 noon to 1:00 pm. I finished my e-mail and logged off, (which took about $5.00 in itself) and headed to deck 7 for the dining room. In the stairwell I noticed the clock read 1:00 pm and realized the online clock was wrong – had to be – as the tlinglet presentations was at 11:00. I got to the dining room and was told they were no longer serving.

I enjoyed an aimless stroll around the promenade deck and then returned to my cabin. I saw an envelope being slid under the stateroom door. It was from the guest relations manager – a polite note of acknowledgement for my letter sent the night before. Within minutes, my phone rang and it was she. Did I get her note, yes, she was sorry I had the experience, etc. We chatted briefly and politely. I understood” and thanked her for taking the time to follow up.

I dressed and went to dinner which was delicious. I picked up a tip from observing veteran diners/cruisers: I don’t have to order ‘one appetizer’ ‘one soup or salad” etc. The appetizers were more appealing – shrimp, scallops, crabmeat and son on. I ordered two appetizers & skipped the salad. I’m usually not a desert eater, but decided to try some of the chef’s special treats..
After dinner I enjoyed the comic Jeff Nease in the Showroom He was very, very good. A chocolate martini at the Martini Bar made a great night cap

No comments: